ROBERT "BOB" DEYOUNG MEMORIAL PAGE
THE HERO OF OSO REMEMBERED
STORY BY: HEATHER GRAF
Bob DeYoung was one of the first to respond in the aftermath of the Oso landslide. He spent months volunteering at the site, working to recover the bodies of his friends and neighbors. But after an unexpected twist of fate, it's now DeYoung's family that's grieving.
The 50-year-old had a heart attack and died suddenly on February 24th.
Now, the community he helped so much is rallying around his family in their time of need.
"This whole town has been so precious and so sweet," said Julie DeYoung. "There's been flowers and cards and donations for the funeral costs. We've just had an outpouring of support."
Bob and Julie live just off State Route 530, and not far from the site of the devastating landslide that took place in March of 2014.
"He heard about it and right away he just immediately wanted to go help," Julie recalls.
Bob was a logger by trade, and so he brought in his own earthmovers and heavy equipment to assist in the search efforts.
"He was determined not to stop until he found everyone. Even though it seemed like a task that couldn't be done, he just said we are going to find everyone," said Julie. "Because he knew that was what was right."
Bob was there when the last body was pulled from the mud and debris. He was among the last to leave the site of the slide, and was later honored by the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office for his efforts during the tragedy.
But Bob's family knows now more than ever that it was something else he did during those difficult days that touched people the most.
"The biggest comment I've gotten from people is that they'll miss his hugs," said Julie. "If he thought you were hurting, he'd just give you a great big huge bear hug."
Bob's son, Zack DeYoung, agreed.
"We're just finding out all these things he's done, even more than we knew," said Bob's son, Zack DeYoung. "If you were down at your lowest, he'd always come pick you up, brush you off, and keep you going."
Perhaps that's why more than $13,000 has already been donated through an online fundraising effort to help the family pay for Bob's funeral costs.
Julie said they are incredibly grateful for the support, and she knows Bob would be touched.
"It's an honor," she said. "He had the biggest heart of anyone I ever met."
Bob's funeral is set for this Saturday, March 5th at 11 a.m. It will take place at the Darrington Community Center.